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Infected Teeth: Why Tooth Extraction Isn’t Always the First Answer

The mouth contains billions of bacteria that make up the oral microbiome. While most are harmless when kept in check, bacteria can pose a health hazard when it causes an infection to develop in the gums. Known as a tooth abscess, an infected tooth can damage oral tissues and spread to other areas of the body and at times may require a tooth extraction.

If you have an infected tooth, you may think that extraction is the only answer. However, you do have other options.

What Is a Tooth Abscess?

The University of Florida Health defines a tooth abscess as a “pocket of pus caused by a bacterial infection.” An abscess typically appears as a swollen, red bump, pimple, or boil around the infected tooth. If you have a tooth abscess, you may experience oral pain, tooth sensitivity, bad breath, a bitter taste in the mouth, a draining sore on the side of your gums, or the loosening of the affected tooth.

What Is the Best Treatment?

The objective of treatment for an infected tooth is to get rid of the infection. This can be achieved in several ways.

First, your dentist may make a small incision into the abscess to allow any pus to drain. The area is then washed with a saltwater rinse. A tiny drain may be placed in the area until the swelling dissipates.

Another common treatment for an infected tooth is a root canal. Root canals help save teeth and rid a tooth of infection. To perform a root canal, the diseased pulp is removed, and the abscess is drained. After a root canal, a crown is often placed to restore the tooth’s strength.

To ensure that the infection is gone, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics may not be necessary if the infection is limited to the abscess. However, if the infection has spread, antibiotics may be needed to prevent further spreading.

When Is an Extraction Necessary?

There may be instances in which a tooth extraction is necessary. Extractions are often recommended when there is irreparable tooth damage that reaches the center of the tooth. Extractions can also prevent serious infections from continuing to spread through the body.

Tooth extractions are also a viable solution to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is often caused by poor brushing and flossing habits. As the disease progresses, it may cause the loosening of a tooth. In this case, extraction may be the best solution.

Other circumstances may also warrant a tooth extraction, such as an impacted tooth that is contributing to infection, overcrowding that is trapping harmful bacteria, or when an accident occurs that results in significant trauma to the mouth.

Contact Vero Elite Dentistry

Tooth extraction is often a last resort for dental professionals. If possible, it’s best to preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tamara Brown, contact Vero Elite Dentistry at 772.617.2869.